Obama 'Capitalism has never worked' speech 12-06-2011



and in 91910 Teddy Roosevelt came here to Osawatomie and he laid out his vision for what he called a new nationalism our country he said means nothing unless it means the triumph of a real democracy of an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him now for this Roosevelt was called a radical he was called the socialist even the Communists but today we are a richer nation and a stronger democracy because of what he fought for in his last campaign and they eight-hour work day and a minimum wage for women insurance for the unemployed and for the elderly and those with disabilities political reform and a progressive income tax today over 100 years later our economy has gone through another transformation over the last few decades huge advances in technology have allowed businesses to do more with less and it's made it easier for them to set up shop and hire workers anywhere they want in the world and many of you know firsthand the painful disruptions this has caused for a lot of Americans factories where people thought they would retire suddenly picked up and went overseas where workers were cheap steel mills that needed a hundred or a thousand employees are now able to do the same work with a hundred employees so layoffs too often became permanent not just a temporary part of the business cycle and these changes didn't just affect blue-collar workers if you were a bank teller or a phone operator or a travel agent you saw many in your profession replaced by ATMs and the internet today even higher skilled jobs like accountants and middle management can be outsourced to countries like China or India and if you're somebody whose job can be done cheaper by a computer or someone in another country you don't have a lot of leverage with your employer when it comes to asking for better wages or better benefits especially since fewer Americans today are part of the Union now just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt's time there is a certain crowd in Washington who for the last few decades have said let's respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune the market will take care of everything they tell us if we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes especially for the wealthy our economy will grow stronger sure they say there will be winners and losers but if the winners do really well then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else and they argue even if prosperity doesn't trickle down well that's the price of Liberty now it's a simple theory and and we have to admit it's one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government that's that's in America's DNA and that theories fits well on a bumper sticker but here's the problem it doesn't work it has never worked it didn't work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression it's not what led to the incredible post-war booms of the 50s and 60s and it didn't work when we tried it during the last decade I mean understand it's not as if we haven't tried this theory remember in those years in 2001 and 2003 Congress passed two of the most expensive tax cuts for the wealthy in history and what did it get us the slowest job growth in half a century massive deficits that have made it much harder to pay for the investments that built this country and provided the basic security that helped millions of Americans reach and stay in the middle class things like education and infrastructure Science and Technology Medicare and Social Security remember that in those same years thanks to some of the same folks who are now running Congress we had weak regulation we had little oversight and what did it get us insurance companies that jacked up people's premiums with impunity and denied care to patients who were sick mortgage lenders that tricked families into buying homes they couldn't afford a financial sector where irresponsibility and lack of basic oversight nearly destroyed our entire economy we simply cannot return to this brand of you're on your own economics if we're serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country we know that it doesn't result in a strong economy it results in an economy that invests too little and his people and in his future we know it doesn't result in a prosperity that trickles down it results in a prosperity that's enjoyed by fewer and fewer of our citizens look at the statistics in the last few decades the average income of the top 1% has gone up by more than 250 percent to 1.2 million dollars per year I'm not talking about millionaires people who have a million dollars I'm saying people who make a million dollars every single year for the top one hundredth and one percent the average income is now twenty-seven million dollars for you the typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her worker now earns a hundred and ten times more and yet over the last decade the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about six percent now this kind of inequality a level that we haven't seen since the Great Depression hurts us all when middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services that businesses are selling when people are slipping out of the middle-class it drags down the entire economy from top to bottom America was built on the idea of broad-based prosperity of strong consumers all across the country that's why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so that they could buy the cars he made it's also why a recent study showed that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run inequality also distorts our democracy it gives an outsize voice to the few who can afford high-priced lobbyists and unlimited campaign contributions and it runs the risk of selling out our democracy to the highest bidder it leaves everyone else rightly suspicious that the system in Washington is rigged against them that our elected representatives aren't looking out for the interests of most Americans but there's an even more fundamental issue at stake this kind of gaping inequality gives lie to the promise that's at the very heart of America that this is a place where you can make it if you try we tell people we tell our kids that in this country even if you're born with nothing work hard and you can get into the middle class we tell them that your children will have a chance to do even better than you do that's why immigrants from around the world historically have flocked to our shores and yet over the last few decades the rungs on the ladder of opportunity have grown farther and farther apart and the middle class is shrunk you know a few years after World War two a child who was born into poverty had a slightly better than 50/50 chance of becoming middle-class as an adult by 1980 that chance had fallen to around 40% and if the trend of rising inequality over the last few decades continues it's estimated that a child born today will only have a one in three chance of making it to the middle class 33 percent it's heartbreaking enough that there are millions of working families in this country who are now four




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